My Comfort Zone is a Fortress

12 Apr

Stepping into someone else’s life is good for the soul. When the time comes to return to your own reality, you find the walk on the other side has added new dimensions to your perceptions, altering, to one degree or another, your philosophies, enhancing your focus and outlook on the big picture, or fine tuning a smaller one.

Universally speaking, I embrace change, but on a more personal level I cling to long held rituals and habits to carry me from day to day. My comfort zone is a fortress of lessons learned. Inside its walls, I explore the options of adding my personal insights into the vast ocean of public opinion, or withdrawing from society all together. But having walked beside, if not in, another’s shoes, I’m left with a collage of fresh insights which will result in new questions that I will attempt to answer to satisfy the philosophical detective in my brain.

First observations in this new journey simply did not match any of the preconceived notions I’d packed for the occasion. I was terribly overdressed for such delightfully casual sincerity. I was the only person wearing armor in a room full of authenticity. While on the surface, I blended, in my mind I was forced to deal with the dirty truth that the assumption I’d made that I would be judged by others, was itself a judgment, making me a cynic at best, or a hypocrite at the other end of the ruler I was packing.

Reality was shock therapy; thank goodness I was surrounded by compassionate people, good food and playful children. In the end, Karaoke pulled me from the hard grip of fear, and I rose from self-imposed darkness, walking purposefully toward new light.

Day two was more delightful than day one; but with all experience comes self-revelation, and having already blundered my way through a buried mine field of my own fixed opinions, horrifying as it had been, it was time to dig through another pile of soiled undies; and all I could do was to smile and hope for the best. Ultimately, it ended well, but better even than that, the celebratory encounters of two distinctively diverse families moving closer, bridging social gaps, effortlessly forming a comfortable cohesion between contrasting tribes, created bonds that will not be broken.

The week was evolution stuck in fast-forward, covering more ground than shining black Starlings feeding mid-spring in Texas. For me, it was more; it was college. It was a revival of the spirit, a well-deserved kick in the pants jolting me from the status-quo back into the boundless realms of new possibilities.

How glamorous the intoxication of ease, how refreshing not to try to mow one’s yard using only a pair of scissors. But intoxication isn’t a one way street; it’s a thoroughfare, traffic teeming, horns blaring from all directions. It is an invitation to reevaluate the furniture in the brain along with each and every particle of its structure. Intoxication from extremes is an invitation to a dissection and probing study of intellectual properly lines you claim.

My visit to the other side was the holiday that made my reality more beautiful magically. It was the most perfect planet I’d ever visited although I found it lacked the amenities of home, the dust bunnies and loud, clanging dishwasher, the worn oak floors creaking beneath my feet, the quilts softening old chairs and cold plaster walls, hot tea from my favorite cup that was a gift from my eldest daughter, and my Peter Pan, Captain Hook, Tinker Belle sewing turntable, a handmade gift from my youngest daughter.

The truth is: I attended a gathering with preconceived ideas of what I would find there, but what I discovered was inconsistent with anything I might have imagined. Enjoying the lavish lifestyles of people whose paths run parallel to mine, but without an unexpected twist of fate would never cross my own, was an unforeseen opportunity to reassess my values. What I found caught me off guard.

I discovered I had grown intoxicated by the story I called my life, a collection of perceptions of all of the experiences I have had; and I saw that I’ve carried a handy-dandy label maker with me at all times, completely unaware I was doing so. I’ve limited myself, unnecessarily, and it took a walk on the other side of the street to suggest there is a great deal out there I’ve missed. I have the life I want; there is no one in the world I would change places with, but I need to invite the unexpected into my life. I need to stop making excuses for myself, to quit believing it’s too late for anything new and exciting to happen to me. I need to quit asking the question, “Who the hell do I think I am?” and admit that question is an excuse I’ve used to avoid reaching higher.

Why would anyone be interested in reading anything I have to say; who the hell do I think I am anyway? Well, I’m one voice in a Universe of many voices… and after breaking out of my comfort zone, I find I still have a lot to say.

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4 Responses to “My Comfort Zone is a Fortress”

  1. losttaurus April 12, 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I love stepping into other people’s lives and seeing how different life can be..after all, it only takes one small twist of fate to change our path. But, like you, after every adventure I enjoy coming home. And after spending the week in a travel trailer with 5 people and two dogs….my home feels like a castle (with a tub)!

    • ittymac April 12, 2013 at 6:31 pm #

      Amazing how it works, isn’t it?

  2. forgivingdreams April 12, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

    Lovely my dear friend…and that happiness you experienced is infectious.

    • ittymac April 12, 2013 at 7:48 pm #

      …then spreading a communicable condition is my pleasure, as long as it remains positive for both host and vector!

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